My old cat is urinating all over the house – What can I do?

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a cat that is 21-years-old. He has regressed and is using the bathroom all over my house. It is terrible. It has a terrible odor and is quite frequent. Any advice?

Regina Bias

Answer

Hi Regina– thanks for your email. I’m sorry to hear about your cat. My first question is why is he doing this? Is it a medical problem or is it behavioral?

I’d recommend that you have him evaluated to make sure he doesn’t have a urinary tract or kidney problem that is bothering him. If so, then you and your vet can determine if there is something you can do to treat him and resolve his problem.

I hate to assume it is behavioral from him being old. I’ve seen this happen before to find out there as a medical problem that could have been “fixed”. Some cats do have “senile” type problems often referred to as Cognitive Dysfunction in Cats.

If that is the case, then you can try to clean up the areas where he urinated really well and ensure that he has a clean accessible litter box. Some senior cats have a hard time getting in and out of deep litter boxes. Watch him and if that is the case, get a lower one or cut a notch so access (his “door”) is easier. You can consider isolating him to one room with food, water and a clean attractive litter box and see if he can be “retrained” so to speak. if he behaves well then you can reintroduce him to the house.

An an article that might be helpful to you is “Cleaning up Urine Accidents“.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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